Sequels can be difficult. As a reader, you want the 2nd book in a series to live up to the expectations you have after reading the 1st. As an author, you want to enhance the narrative of the 1st by adding, growing, or changing the lives of your characters and the world in which they live.
In The Liminal Man, author Todd Keisling manages to do both by going decidedly deeper into the Monochrome, the world in which title character Donovan Candle only managed a glimpse in book 1, A Life Transparent.
At the end of ALT, Donovan made the vow to change his life, not only for the better, but to prevent himself from “flickering” from existence. In TLM, Donovan finds himself working in a new job as a P.I. with older brother Mike and about to become a father with wife Donna.
But all is not peachy keen, especially when the dastardly Aleister Dullington, his henchman Albert Sparrow and their minions the Cretins and the Yawning are up to their old tricks again.
But TLM is not just a rehashing of the plot from book 1. It adds deeper shades of darkness when Donovan’s nephew Quinn goes missing. The return of Dullington and his hordes plunge Donovan into a world just as devoid of color yet teeming with something more sinister and darker than Donovan even realizes.
What he discovers in Dullington’s alternate underworld underlines the message of book 1, while forcing Donovan to realize that by only taking half-measures, he is still at risk of cheating himself out of the very things he desires, not to mention threatening his very existence, the futures of those he loves and the others who have fallen prey to the Monochrome and the creatures residing within.
Where A Life Transparent gave Donovan a glimpse at what his future could hold if he fails to live up to his full potential, The Liminal Man drags him across various thresholds he is too afraid to face and forces him to make a decision one way or another. The question for readers: how will Donovan react when the clock runs out and the time to make a decision is staring him in the face?
The Liminal Man is a thrilling, suspense-fueled ride with good and evil in a showdown, and the fate of one man inadvertently putting the lives of others in jeopardy. Add to that some evil little creatures, a bone-chilling underworld and forces that will stop at nothing until they get what they want, The Liminal Man kept me turning pages well into the night (and a little wary of taking the subway anymore, to be honest).